Pinking in White Wines - A Review

A.P. Nel, W.J. du Toit, F.P. van Jaarsveld


In the late 1960s, a phenomenon was discovered in white wines. It was noted that certain white wines turned pink in the bottle. This phenomenon was dubbed as pinking. Research was done on the pinking to establish its cause and effect. Analysis of SO2, pH and polyvinyl polypyrrolidone (PVPP) showed that a minimum of 45 mg/L of SO2 were needed for the wine not to be susceptible to pinking. Tests on the decrease in pH showed that there was no increase in pink colour with a decrease in pH, which meant
that monomeric anthocyanins were not the cause of pinking. Recent research claims that malvidin-3-Oglucoside is the most abundant monomeric anthocyanin found in pinked wines and could be the cause of
pinking. This led to the theory that phenols contribute to pinking susceptibility, and this was accepted as fact in recent years. The establishment of a pinking assay in 1977 made the testing for pinking easier and cheaper for winemakers. The sales of PVPP increased as winemakers worked preventatively with their wine to decrease susceptibility to pinking. This review attempts to describe the history of pinking, the
establishment of the assay, as well as to describe factors that could lead to pinking susceptibility in white wines.


Pinking, pinking susceptibility, pinking assay

Full Text:




Abramovič, H., Košmerl, T., Ulrih, N.P. and Cigic, B., 2015. Contribution of SO2 to antioxidant potential of white wine. Food Chem. 174: 147 – 153.

Andrea-Silva, J., Cosme, F., Ribeiro, L.F., Moreira, A.S.P., Malheiro, A.C., Coimbra, M.A., Domingues, M.R.M. and Nunes, F.M., 2014. Origin of the pinking phenomenon of white wines. J. Agric. Food Chem. 62: 5651 – 5659.

Arapitsas, P., Oliveira, J. and Mattivi, F., 2015. Do white grapes really exist? Food Res. Int. 69: 21 – 25.

Aron, P.M. and Kennedy, J.A., 2008. Flavan-3-ols: Nature, occurrence and biological activity. Mol. Nutr. Food Res. 52: 79 – 104.

Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI). (accessed in October 2019)

Barril, C., Rutledge, D.N., Scollary, G.R. and Clark, A.C., 2016. Ascorbic acid and white wine production: a review of beneficial versus detrimental impacts. Aust. J. Grape Wine Res. 22: 169 – 181.

Boss, P.K., Davies, C. and Robinson, S.P., 1996. Anthocyanin composition and anthocyanin pathway gene expression in grapevine sports differing in berry skin colour. Aust. J. Grape Wine Res. 2: 163 – 170.

Bradshaw, M.P., Scollary, G.R. and Prenzler, P.D., 2004. Examination of the sulfur dioxide-ascorbic acid anti-oxidant system in a model white wine matrix. J Sci Food Agric. 84: 318 – 324.

Bradshaw, M.P., Barril, C., Clark, A.C., Prenzler, P.D. and Scollary, G.R., 2011. Ascorbic acid: A review of its chemistry and reactivity in relation to a wine environment. Crit. Rev. Food Sci. 51: 479 – 498.

Castellari, M., Simonato, B., Tornielli, G.B., Spinelli, P. and Ferrarini, R., 2004. Effects of different enological treatments on dissolved oxygen in wines. Ital. J. Food Sci. 3 (16): 387 – 397.

Choe, E. and Min, D.B., 2009. Mechanisms of antioxidants in the oxidation of foods. Compr. Rev. Food Sci. F. 8: 345 – 358.

Clark, A.C., Dias, D.A., Smith, T.A., Ghiggino, K/P/, and Scollary, G.R., 2011. Iron(III) tartrate as a potential precursor of light-induced oxidative degradation of white wine: Studies in a model wine system. J. Agric. Food Chem. 59: 3575 – 3581.

Cosme, F., Andrea-Silva, J., Filipe-Ribeiro, L., Moreira, A.S.P., Malheiro, A.C., Coimbra, M.A., Domingues, M.R.M. and Nunes, F.M., 2019. The origin of pinking phenomena in white wines: An update. 41st World Congress of Vine and Wine. BIO Web of Conferences 12: 1 – 5.

Dias, D.A., Smith, T.A., Ghiggino, K.P. and Scollary, G.R., 2012. The role of light, temperature, and wine bottle colour on pigment enhancement in white wine. Food Chem. 135: 2934 – 2941.

Fulcrand, H., Dueñas, M., Salas, E. and Cheynier, V., 2006. Phenolic reactions during winemaking and aging. Am. J. Enol. Vitic. 57 (3): 289 – 297.

Garrido, J. and Borges, F., 2013. Wine and grape polyphenols — A chemical perspective. Food Res. Int. 54: 1844 – 1858.

Gibson, R., 2006. Ascorbic acid – friend or foe? 35th Annual New York Wine Industry Workshop. New York.

Iland, P., Bruer, N., Edwards, G., Caloghiris, S. and Wilkes, E., 2012. Chemical analysis of grapes and wine: Techniques and concepts (2nd Ed.). Patrick Iland Wine Promotions Pty Ltd. Adelaide. Australia.

Jacobson, J.L., 2006. Introduction to wine laboratory practices and procedures. Springer

Jackson, R.S., 2014. Post-fermentation treatments and related topics. In: Wine Science: Principles and applications. Academic Press. Elsevier. 418 – 521.

Jackson, R.S., 2016. Wine Tasting: A Professional Handbook. Academic Press; 3 edition. Ontario. Canada.

Jones, T., 1989. Pinking of white table wines: Further studies. Unpublished Master of Science thesis, University of California, Davis, CA, USA.

Lamuela-Raventós, R.M., Huix-Blanquera, M. and Waterhouse, A.L., 2001. Treatments for pinking alteration in white wines. Am. J. Enol. Vitic. 52 (2): 156 – 158.

Maxwell, N., 2017. Karl Popper, Science and enlightenment. London, UCL Press.

Monagas, M., Bartolomé, B. and Gómez-Cordovés, C., 2005. Updated knowledge about the presence of phenolic compounds in wine. Crit. Rev. Food Sci. 45: 85 – 118.

Nel, A.P., 2018. Tannins and Anthocyanins: From Their Origin to Wine Analysis – A Review. S. Afr. J. Enol. Vitic. 39 (1): 1 – 19.

Oliveira, C.M., César, A.C., Ferreira, S., De Freitas, V. and Silva, A.M.S., 2011. Oxidation mechanisms occurring in wines. Food Res. Int. 44 (5): 1115 - 1126.

Parish-Virtue, K., Herbst-Johnstone, M., Bouda, F. and Fedrizzi, B., 2019. The impact of postharvest ultra-violet light irradiation on the thiol content of Sauvignon blanc grapes. Food Chem. 271: 747 – 752.

Piñeiro, Z., Canepa, D., Palma, M. and Barroso, C.G., 2012. Evolution of grape seed flavan-3-ols during ripening of different grape cultivars. Int. J. Food Sci. Tech. 47: 40 – 46.

Popper, K., 2005. The logic of scientific discovery. 3rd edition. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group. London, New York.

Robinson, J., Harding, J. and Vouillamoz, J., 2012. Wine grapes: a complete guide to 1, 368 vine varieties, including their origins and flavours. London: Harper Collins.

Rustioni, L., 2017. Oxidized polymeric phenolics: Could they be considered photoprotectors? J. Agric. Food Chem. 65: 7843 − 7846.

SASEV, 2002. Methods of analysis for wine laboratories. South African Wine Laboratory Association

Simpson, R.F., 1977a. Oxidative pinking in white wines. Vitis. 16: 286 – 294.

Simpson, R.F., 1977b. Pinking in Australian white table wines. Austr. Wine Brew. Spirit Rev. November. 56 – 58.

Simpson, R.F., 1980a. Some aspects of oxidation and oxidative browning in white table wines. Austr. Grapegrower & Winemaker. January: 20 - 21.

Simpson, R.F., 1980b. Some aspects of oxidative pinking of white wines. Austr. Grapegrower & Winemaker. December: 12 - 13.

Simpson, R.F., Miller, G.C. and Orr, G.L., 1982. Oxidative pinking of white wines: recent observations. Food Tech. Austr. 34 (1): 44 – 47.

Simpson, R.F., Bennett, S.B. and Miller, G.C., 1983. Oxidative pinking of white wines: a note on the influence of sulphur dioxide and ascorbic acid. Food Tech. Austr. 35 (1): 34 – 36.

Singleton, V.L. and Esau, P., 1969. Phenolic substances in grapes and wine and their significance. Adv. Food Res. Suppl. 1: 1 – 282.

Tobe, S.J., 1983. Pinking in table wines from white grapes. Unpublished MSc. thesis,

University of California, Davis.

Waterhouse, A.L. and Laurie, V.F., 2006. Oxidation of Wine Phenolics: A Critical Evaluation and Hypotheses. Am. J. Enol. Vitic. 57 (3): 306 – 313.



  • There are currently no refbacks.